Wildlife Geek Notes: Dragonfly Facts!

My first dragonfly sighting of the year happened this past Sunday. My husband and I were moving the kayaks, when I found this!

This dragonfly isn’t eating the insect it’s clinging to. It has just crawled OUT of it, completing its metamorphosis from a larva who lived in the water for one to two years, into this dragonfly adult.

The skin it leaves behind is called the exuvia. It takes several hours for the dragonfly’s wings to dry and harden. During this time, it’s helpless and at great risk of being eaten.

There are over 5,000 species of dragonflies and they’ve been around for 300 million years!

Dragonflies today have a wingspan of two to six inches. Dragonfly fossils though, show wingspans of up to two feet!

In their larva stage in the water, they eat almost anything; mosquitoes, tadpoles, other insect larvae, fish and even each other.

Adult dragonflies only eat prey when they’re flying, and oh boy, can they can fly! Hover like a helicopter? They can do that. Fly straight up and down? Yep! Sideways? Backwards? Yes and yes! One of the reasons they’re expert flyers, is because all four of their wings work independently!

And my favorite dragonfly fact, a single dragonfly can eat hundreds of mosquitoes per day!

If a dragonfly lands on you, it’s believed to be good luck! I enjoy letting them hitch a ride, when they land on my kayak.

Have you seen a dragonfly lately?

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